If you have IBS or a type of IBD, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, then you may have tried to eat a raw food diet and failed due to an increase in your symptoms when you went raw. Going raw can even cause people with healthy digestive systems to temporarily suffer from gas and bloating, so going raw when you have IBS or IBD must done very carefully to avoid triggering a symptom flare. Follow these tips on starting how to begin a raw diet when you have IBS or IBD to avoid triggering a flare and finally get your good health back.
1. Don’t Start Indulging in Just Anything and Everything Raw
When you suffer from IBD or IBS, it is important to choose your raw diet “starter foods” carefully. Begin eating only raw foods that you have been able to eat in the past without triggering a flare. Make your first raw days filled with these foods, and then gradually add one new fruit or vegetable to your diet at a time. Depending how quickly you react to certain foods, you may only need to wait two days between new diet additions, or you may need to wait a bit longer.
If a new food you introduce triggers digestive problems, then immediately take it back out of your diet for now. Don’t worry if it is something you love, because you may be able to add it back in your diet successfully later after your colon inflammation is gone.
2. Know the Safest Foods to Begin Adding to Your Raw Diet
Foods that trigger IBS and IBD symptoms vary greatly from person to person. However, there are some trends in foods that are generally tolerated well by IBD and IBS sufferers, and those are foods low in FODMAPS.
You can check out the whole list of high and low FODMAP foods here, but some of the most commonly eaten the fruits on that are high in FODMAPs include apples, apricots, mangoes, dates, papaya, peaches, watermelon. These are foods you want to avoid at first or at least be be very careful when adding them to your diet and eat small amounts to see how they affect you.
Foods low in FODMAPs include bananas, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, raspberries, and many more delicious fruits on the chart. These are the safest foods to add to your diet first, but still keep an eye on how your body reacts to them.
3. Your Blender is Your Friend
Contrary to myths you may have heard from well-intended raw food eaters, cooked foods are typically easier to digest than many raw foods. This is due to the fact that cooking breaks them down into a more-easily digestible form (although that does not mean that cooking makes them healthier).
However, you can make many raw foods more easily digestible by blending them instead of cooking them. In fact, many raw fruits and vegetables you may have had problems eating raw or cooked in the past may not cause digestive problems for you when they are pureed well in a blender.
4. Don’t Stop Taking Your Medications Before You Begin Eating Raw
This tip may sound disheartening, because you may be eating raw specifically to be able to stop taking those medications with dangerous side effects. The good news is that many people are able to stop taking medications to control IBS and IBD symptoms once they change their diets, but if you stop your medication before you begin a raw food diet or before you have fully adjusted to it, you will not know if any flares or digestive problems you encounter are due to a the raw diet, a specific food you just added, or simply due to stopping your medication
Keep taking your medication for now. Once you have completely transitioned the way you eat, you can then begin deciding whether you still need those meds or not.